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Army protects Eskom workers as they remove illegal connections

Eskom workers remove illegal electricity connections in Qandu-qandu informal settlement in Khayelitsha.

About a month ago, the South African National Defence Force was deployed to various areas on the Cape Flats to assist police with their battle against gangs. But on Tuesday, the army accompanied police to safeguard Eskom workers who were removing illegal electricity connections into Qandu-qandu informal settlement in Khayelitsha.

The settlement has no basic services and residents there depend on izinyoka (illegal connections) for electricity. On Tuesday, residents looked on as wires were disconnected from their shacks. Several people questioned the army’s presence and its role during the removals.

“We will connect again even if we have to use barbed wire,” shouted one resident.

“The army is here to intimidate us so that we do not fight against this oppression,” said resident Siphumelele Doyi. “People here if they thought it was only the municipality that does not want us here must think again. Even our national government is anti-black because the army and Eskom are both national entities,” he said.

Resident Asithandile Myeki said: “We depended on that electricity and now it is gone. I do not think we will let this go. We don’t have water here and now electricity too.”

Qandu-qandu is a relatively new settlement and is not yet in the City of Cape Town’s database. As a result, it has not received any basic services like water and sanitation. The settlement is on wetlands and the municipality has now suggested that residents should relocate.

Residents call for services

Community leader and Qandu-qandu committee chairperson Ntombomzi Mafaya said: “When did this municipality care about shack dwellers? We are flooded now for almost a month after heavy rains. We have no toilets to relieve ourselves.”

Charlotte Powell, spokesperson for the City’s Disaster Risk Management Centre, said the only solution for Qandu-qandu is relocation. “The land was illegally occupied and no basic services are in place. The Disaster Risk Management Centre made an assessment and requested further assistance from the City’s Informal Settlement Management and roads and stormwater departments as well as from the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA),” she said.

Alderman Grant Twigg, acting Mayco Member for Human Settlements, said: “Current and planned programmes must be respected, and work cannot be conducted in an ad hoc manner where new illegal settlements are formed, demanding the same services that those who have been waiting for longer are due to receive.”

Axolile Notywala, the General Secretary of the Social Justice Coalition, said the City has a responsibility to provide services for all residents. “The City needs to explain how and on what basis it has taken this decision on this particular community. We know of other informal settlements of similar age where the City has engaged with the community about putting in temporary services,” he said. – © 2019 GroundUp

This article was originally published on GroundUp here.

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Since they are cutting electricity on shacks, they must prepared fire and disaster department as people will be using candles for light and fire for cooking.. such things are dangerous between communities as this one. Reckless or mismanage of fire may cause all shacks to burn.

Unfortunately Eskom can’t provide free electricity to anyone! It’s too heavily indebted.

Look at those DSTV dishes and I bet they pay nothing for TV licences???

probably illegally connected as well – DSTV piggybacking

These communities should try birth control then they would not live in poverty.
They draw their grants and sit around all day pomping and drinking.
try doing like in India where families start with basic solar kits and build them up as they go.
this govt. has created a huge monster of entitlement and non payment

another thing most of these people come from Transkei where the voted in the anc , but come to live in Cape Town which is DA territory – such hypocrits

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